Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy 75th Repeal Day

I was planning on taking part in the Session this month, but real-life obligations got in the way. This month's question, delicioulsy hosted by 21st Amendmendment Brewery:

“What does the repeal of Prohibition mean to you? How will you celebrate your right to drink beer?”

It was going to be a brainy piece on whether the craft beer and home brewing movement is better off because of prohibition. In other words, instead the BMC and burgeoning craft brew situation we are currently in, would we have scores of rather conservative regionals and a minute craft and home brew segment?

Time is the tyrant.

Here's what I can say about the repeal and it has some poignancy given our current economic times. I have been awestruck by those that have followed their dream to open breweries in the face of archaic post prohibition regulations, hop and grain shortages and plummeting economic confidence.

Earlier this year, Don Webb a fellow home brewer and friend, opened Naked City located in Shoreline WA. I followed along as he subtly hinted that he was, "going pro", as he struggled to get permitting, find a suitable location, adapt his business plan to the shortages and the capriciousness of the whims local officials.

Don has always been a can-do guy, and a great story-teller so while things looked as dark as a Russian Imperial Stout Don never faltered in his online posts and you'd never know doubt when you heard him speak. Real inspiring stuff! It was shared victory for many when he opened in October.

Online I have also been following other brewers in various points of developing a breweries, including Fullsteam (who's image I shamelessly stole) and dozens of beer bloggers, podcasters and beer raconteurs detailing their personal struggles as well as the fight for great beer.

And so I celebrate repeal day by honoring those that fight the good fight every day.

If you care to follow along with these great stories, check out some of the people that I am following on twitter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brew Out

Just a quick note to express what a joy it is to brew in the company of other brewers.

Sunday, I hosted a get-together with some other local Phoenix brewers. This is the third time that we have gotten together with an ad-hoc group that we have been calling BATF which stands for Beer Acronym to Follow.

When you are the host of a brew out, your entire brewing routine goes out the window. You are constantly making sure your guests have what they need to get started and you are drawn to observe their methods and chat with them about brewing.

I brewed an Centennial IPA based up on a Two Hearted clone I saw on the web. Took forever to get my strike water to the right temp, still missed my desired strike, did an ad-hoc decoction, about the only thing I was able to brew by the numbers was the coffee.

Still, between the 3 of us, we cranked out 25 gallons and my OG was right on. So as the host, you take pride in the entire endeavor which overall was a success.

As an added bonus, we finally got to sample a parti-gyle beer we created during our last brew out. The beer was the result of the second runnings of a Barleywine grain bill. The wort was a combination of my runnings and those of another brewer. The host of the last event donated hops (we forget which) and was responsible for fermenting, kegging and carbing.

The beer turn out to be very good. We threw it in the pool to keep it at serving temperature. Tomorrow we plan on bringing the final 2 gallons of it to our local home brew club meeting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ubiquitous Zymurgy

The most useful tech tools are like pets- they begin to resemble their owners or at the very least mold themselves to their habits. The brewing tool that I have been using quite a bit lately is my Internet connected LG Dare. There are many reasons why I chose the Dare over, say the iPhone, but that discussion for another blog. Although I do not have a photo of a doughed-in mash tun as my wallpaper, the Dare is molding itself for my desire to access the culture of beer at my whim, whenever I want.

As a beer connoisseur and someone that wants to become a BJCP
judge, I use the phone to take pictures of the beer places I frequent and the beers that want to critique. I use the phone's text/email function to post the photos to my brightkite account, which in turn updates my Twitter account. For those not familiar with those names, the free web services allow me to post information and pictures about the things I am doing in near real-time. So in the case of beer I can post a picture and some tasting notes on the beer. Here is an example post.

Friends and other followers on twitter can post their thoughts on my session or ask questions. Whenever I throw a beer post on Twitter, I am potentially drinking with over 100 other beer brewers, beer bloggers and writers and online drinking buddies.

With my phone, I am always connected to the BJCP style guide to help with my tasting notes. I found a mobile friendly version here:

I can check in to my favorite Home brewing site
and ask a brewing question, or attempt to answer a few or just gloat about the fact that I am drinking a Russian River Pliney and they are not.

Perhaps in the future, if my interests expand into mobile video, I will look into sites like Qik so that I can stream video from my phone. Today that idea seems a way off. I am happy with my medium-sized mutt right now and I don't feel the need to upgrade to a pure-bred.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can follow me at